Thanks to community crowdfunding, a £5000 grant from the local Freemasons and support from Integrated Passenger Transport at NYC, Skipton Step Into Action has managed to secure a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, with a very special story…
The late Jean McHale was an upstanding member of the local community, who volunteered for many causes benefitting the elderly, including running the Daybreak group for Craven Voluntary Action. Jean was unfortunately diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease some years ago, and her husband John purchased a WAV vehicle to help Jean get about to various groups. Sadly, Jean passed away in October 2022, leaving behind her husband, her son and daughter-in-law. John told us “I miss her very much, she was a great organiser and now I am lost without her. We had a great life together, 52 years married and had lots of great times and holidays. I have memories to look back on but that doesn’t compensate for her loss.”
In the meantime, SSIA had noticed a gap in the community for reliable, affordable transport which was causing an inequality with access to health and other essential appointments. After securing funding for a Transport Coordinator, we set up our volunteer transport service using volunteers’ own vehicles. But one thing was missing; an accessible vehicle for those with reduced mobility and wheelchair users. We heard that John had his minibus for sale, and very fortunately managed to secure it.
We couldn’t think of a better way to honour Jean’s story than to name the vehicle after her. John says: “I am very proud to see that Jean the minibus is doing a good job and she would be very proud to be doing something useful for the community. When I heard that the minibus was going to be called Jean it brought back thoughts of all the things that Jean did for the senior community of Craven… Her memory lives on with lots of people in Craven through Jean the mini bus. I hope Jean the mini bus gives a great and long service.”
A massive thank you to John and to everyone who made it possible for us to secure Jean to deliver this vital service to people in Skipton and the surrounding areas. For the time being, the priority of SSIA’s transport service is getting people to health and other essential appointments. However, if volunteer capacity allows, we are also taking bookings for social trips and other engagements and hope to extend into these services more in the future.
If you see Jean about town, give her a wave! Also, keep an eye on our website and social media for more updates on ‘Jean’s Journeys’.
If you would like to find out more about our transport service, please contact email@example.com or call us on 01756 802 098 (Mon-Fri 9am-1pm). Please be aware that fulfilling a journey is entirely reliant on volunteer availability, so make sure you give us as much notice as possible!
Can you help us keep Jean going? We need to continue raising funds as we have numerous ongoing running costs. For example; insurance, inspection & maintenance, tyres and even volunteer driver training & accreditation! If you can help, please donate via our PayPal here with ‘Jean’ as a reference.
If you’d like to help us with our transport service by becoming a volunteer driver, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.